It was with a heavy heart viewers said their final farewells to Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper after the cancer-stricken cafe owner decided to take her own life.
Julie Hesmondhalgh’s moving portrayal of her character’s battle against the cruel disease highlighted the harsh reality faced by thousands of sufferers each year.
Although Hayley eventually opted for suicide and husband Roy played no part in helping her die, the storyline inevitably brought the debate of assisted suicide to the forefront in the UK, pitting public opinion against that of the Church and medical professionals.
It was previously a subject I’d rarely considered despite losing several loved ones to cancer.
Having seen loved ones go through untold suffering after all medicine has been stopped, as it currently stands in Britain, we as friends or relatives are left to watch as their lives just slowly ebb away.
Too often those dark final days overshadow the years of enjoyment we have shared with each other.
Yet unlike Britain, here in America, three States – Oregon, Washington and Vermont – allow those with a terminal illness with less than six months to live the right to be given help by their relatives, friends and doctors to end their lives at a time of their choosing.
After meeting one of those who watched their loved ones choose to “die with dignity”, I firmly believe each and every one of us should be given the same choice in Britain.
I understand not all will agree with my feelings. In fact I am sure some of you will be outraged.
But after spending time with widowed Stan Curtis, I would defy anyone not to reason with his, or more importantly his late wife's, belief.
For two years he watched helplessly as his wife Cody suffered cholangiocarcinoma (corr) cancer.
The debilitating disease, one of the most aggressive which attacks the bile duct, left the mum-of-two’s quality of life all but gone.
For her family and friends it was unbearable to watch yet it was Cody, supported by her family, who chose to end her life.
So in December 2009, 12 years after Oregon introduced its Death with Dignity Act and surrounded by her loved ones at her home, she drank a cocktail of legally prescribed drugs to end her life.
It placed her in to coma which ultimately ended her suffering.
But more importantly she died knowing those she left behind would not be prosecuted for assisting in her death.
Stan told me: “I’m still very proud of her. It wasn't hard for me. She was saying to me ‘I can create happily ever after’ and she did.
“For us it was not a medical choice, it was a lifestyle choice.
“Cody wanted to be in control of her destiny that was the most important thing to her and Death with Dignity allowed for that to happen.”
In Britain a new Assisted Dying Bill is likely to go before the Lords in May.
If passed it could finally put an end to dying British patients having to travel to Switzerland’s Dignitas centre to end their suffering and instead provide them with the comforts of their own home they should be given.
Dying people should have the right to compassionate help from a doctor at their time of greatest need, without having to endure a painful, uncomfortable death because of someone else’s religious beliefs or fears.
One of the biggest benefits of the law in Oregon is the comfort it gives to so many patients, knowing that they can die peacefully if they face extended suffering at the end.
A peaceful death, in sound mind and surrounded by loved ones, is a choice that surely should be respected, honoured and treated with the dignity every person so rightly deserves.
Ever since he found fame in the early seventies, David Bowie has been known as one of the coolest men on the planet
Forty years on however there is now a new kid on the block, although this one is in his seventies.
For what David Bowie is to music, Pope Francis is to religion.
This week readers of America’s Rolling Stone weren't greeted with Bowie's usual king of cool crown on the front cover, instead they found it replaced by the Pontiff’s zucchetto.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has become the first head of the Catholic church to appear on the iconic magazine's front page.
A picture of him smiling and waving is accompanied by the headline “The times they are a-changin” although personally I felt Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changing would of been more in keeping.
Inside an article praises the new Pontiff stating how he “has done much to separate himself from past popes and establish himself as a people's pope.”
Since his appointment in March the 77-year-old has emerged as an endearing figure known for his humility and desire to build a more inclusive church.
Eager to focus less on divisive social issues such as abortion, he describes his church as “a field hospital after a battle” in which he tends to everyone no matter what faith.
He is a genuine rock star of religion.
Whoever said a Rolling Stone gathers no mass.
So it has been revealed British spooks have been spying on my attempts to get to the next level on Angry Birds.
Along with their U.S. counterparts, the Cheltenham-based spies have been sticking their beaks in to millions of people smartphone games to gain valuable information such as age, location, sex and even sexual preferences.
Citing confidential documents provided by CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden, the latest reports also claim we’ve had our cables tapped as we’ve watched YouTube or gone on Facebook.
It seems there is no end to how much spying has been carried out by our two nations.
Being spied on is one thing, but having to pay £2.99 for the privilege is a different game altogethe